Mining in New Zealand - Oil and gas

Image:  Marsden Point Oil Refinery by Russellstreet on Flickr

In the 20th century, drilling for oil and gas began in Taranaki. Exploration for oil and gas on land and off shore continues today and along with fracking, is a contentious issue. We have selected these online resources to support you when you need information relating to mining in New Zealand.

Digital New Zealand

This site provides access to thousands of pictures, video, sounds and objects from New Zealand museums, libraries, galleries, archives and private institutions. Sets include oil and gas exploration.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Drilling for oil and gas - environmental oversight

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report, June 2014, into drilling for oil and gas in New Zealand.

Suggested level: secondary

GNS science

The New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences website. How the fossil fuels are created, where they are found, and how they are extracted.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary.


Check out the school work site ManyAnswers for information about mining and fracking.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals

This New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals site has information about mining in New Zealand today. Look under 'Iwi and Communities', 'how the Government manages the mining industry’ and 'drilling and fracking'.

Suggested level: intermediate, secondary

Petroleum Exploration and Production Association New Zealand

New Zealand society promoting the interests of petroleum explorers in New Zealand.  Information on the oil and gas industry in New Zealand, and an interactive illustration of deep sea drilling.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

ScienceLearn Hub

A search on this Waikato University site for oil and gas brings up a wealth of information,  videos and images. Has sections on formation of oil and gas, natural gas in Taranaki and a timeline of energy sources through time.

Suggested level: intermediate, secondary

Te Ara

Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, has excellent coverage of oil and gas.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Tiki the Penguin

Tiki the Penguin’s mini guide to fracking - the process of using water to extract oil and natural gas from rock- explores the process, benefits and risks.

Suggested level: primary

Vector Natural Gas

Vector, the New Zealand energy company, provides webpages for children on natural gas. Information includes the drilling and processing of gas with Zot the Energybot.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate


Both the Australia/New Zealand Reference Center and New Zealand Geographic have links to a good selection of articles on oil and gas in New Zealand. School log-on and password required. 

Suggested level: secondary


Have you thought about using fiction with your class to support your topic? The following are some suggestions for your students (and you!) to read and enjoy.

Rosco and the pelican rescue, by Lynn Rowe Reed, 2011 (picture book)
A whale of a time, by Chris Kunz, 2010 (fiction)


Fracking in New Zealand. TV3 News. Youtube. 2.29

The oil and gas industry is turning nasty in New Zealand. Marae Investigates. Youtube 11.27

OIl from the Sea, NZ On Screen, 18:33